king paido
Reynold “King Paido” Phillips performs on Sunday night at the calypso show held as part of the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival. He won the crown. (Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

Reynold “King Paido” Phillips wouldn’t have missed the calypso competition on Sunday night at the Virgin Gorda Easter Festival.

After all, he had a title to defend.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues, the contest was the first one held in the territory since Mr. Phillips was last crowned Calypso Monarch at the 2019 August Emancipation Festival.

He successfully defended his title. By impressing the judges who sat under a tent in front of the stage, Mr. Phillips edged out three other performers to win the crown for Virgin Gorda Calypso Monarch and take home $2,500.

Joycelyn “Sistah Joyce” Searles crowns Reynold “King Paido” Phillips. (Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

In his song “Consequences — The Melee,” the retired police officer aired his “interpretation” of the recent Commission of Inquiry

“How did we get to this stage with so much corruption?” sang Mr. Phillips, a St. Vincent native who has lived in the Virgin Islands for 38 years. “They were all heading full speed in the wrong direction. So they launched a massive investigation. The COI is a rod of correction.”

12th win

The win was his seventh on Virgin Gorda, where he used to live, and his 12th overall after five additional wins on Tortola.

Mr. Phillips said after the show that his COI song wasn’t meant to criticise anyone in particular, but to take aim at systemic governance issues exposed by the inquiry.

“The COI is a rod of correction: restore you when you going wrong and correcting mistakes,” he said, adding, “Like you’re mommy’s telling you, ‘Hey, don’t do that; do the right thing.’”

He is already planning his next performance at the August Emancipation Festival.

“I’ve gotta defend, because I’m the reigning king of Virgin Gorda and I’m the reigning king of Tortola,” he said.

Princess Dede
Desirae “Princess Dede” Pemberton took second place at the calypso competition on Sunday. (Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)
The awards

Besides winning the crown, Mr. Phillips also took home awards for “best rendition” and “best arrangement.”

The $1,500 prize for first runner-up went to the only female contender, Desirae “Princess Dede” Pemberton, who earned 281 points to Mr. Phillips 313.

Ms. Pemberton also won “best presentation” and “best melody,” and she tied with Lester “Mighty Leh Leh” Fontelio for “best originality.”

Mr. Fontelio also took home an award for “best demonstration.”

Other performers

Other performances during the evening included At-Large Representative Shereen Flax-Charles, a long-time calypsonian who didn’t compete but sang between contestants.

As part of a programme designed to involve more youths in the art form, a junior calypsonian performing as “Princess Zambia” also took the stage wearing a graduation robe and mortarboard.

Junior calypso monarch
“Princess Zambia” was the only performer in the youth category. (Photo: FREEMAN ROGERS)

At the end of the night, she won the title of Sistah Joyce Junior Calypso Monarch, which was presented by veteran calypsonian Joycelyn “Sistah Joyce” Searles.

Mr. Phillips said he was glad to see the young performer take part as part of the next generation of calypsonians.

“I’m on my way out,” he joked.